Unelected Labour Party official uses technology to stop democratic vote on Corbyn’s suspension

Jim Kelly
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See statement from the left on the Labour Party’s London Regional Executive Committee

Tonight, at our London Regional Executive Committee (REC) meeting over Zoom, comrades from Unite the Union attempted to share an emergency motion (details below).

The Chair was challenged on the decision to accept the motion onto the agenda and a vote was taken where a clear majority of REC members voted to hear the motion. A zoom poll was taken to count the votes.

Once the REC then moved to hear the actual motion, the staff advised us they could not be present during the debate as it was not “competent business”. The staff turned off their cameras and chose not to participate until the next item of business.

While we debated the motion, the Chair’s co-hosting rights were removed which meant a zoom poll to take a vote could not be taken. The meeting had to stop while the Chair phoned the staff and requested his co-hosting rights were reinstated. This request from the Chair was refused. This action stopped the REC being able to carry out a democratic secret vote, and prevented the REC passing a motion with a clear statement on a matter of huge importance to the Labour Party.

Regional Executive members who were supportive of the motion are horrified at this clear interference in the ability of the Regional Executive to operate democratically. While we understand staff may have needed to remove themselves from a meeting if instructed to do so, if this was a physical meeting we would have the ability to run our own vote as lay members. This was clear interference from staff who should be neutral in the democratic decision-making of the Labour Party.

Motion:

London Labour Party REC believes:

1. antisemitism is a poison in society and has no place in the Labour Party; there is agreement across the party that we must redouble our efforts to eradicate it
2. publication of the EHRC report presented an opportunity for the party to reflect on its findings, unite and move forward, ensuring that all communities see Labour as a progressive and anti-racist party where all feel welcome and valued irrespective of their class, race, religion or ethnic background
3. events since the report’s publication have overshadowed the important task of rebuilding solidarity and unity within the party and showing ourselves as a credible alternative to the inept Tory Government that is incapable of dealing with the health crisis or the economic crisis it has created.

London Labour Party REC calls on:

i. all party units and elected representatives of the Labour Party, including the NEC, to take the necessary steps to avert what threatens to become the biggest internal crisis facing Labour in decades
ii. the Leadership of the party to reverse the divisive course of action it has embarked upon, to work for party unity and to ensure Labour becomes a credible government in waiting.

We stand in solidarity with Jeremy Corbyn and look forward to him resuming his place in Parliament under the Labour whip as soon as possible.

Amendment moved and accepted

The London Labour Party REC expresses our solidarity with Jewish members who experience abuse and harassment and the wider Jewish Community.